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AMY GOODMAN: So, I mean, right now, the user pays per month for use of the internet, and that’s how these companies get their money. So they’d be both charging the user and the content provider, the one who makes the website?
The House is expected to vote this week on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006. We take a look at the various aspects of the bill with University of Illinois professor and Free Press co-founder Robert McChesney. [includes rush transcript]
This week, the House is expected to vote on Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006. The COPE bill would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. The bill would effectively end what is known as "net neutrality" which is the concept that that everyone, everywhere, should have free, universal and non-discriminatory access to all the Internet has to offer. The COPE bill would permit Internet service providers like AOL to charge fees for almost every online transaction and to prioritize emails based on the senders' willingness to pay.
ROBERT McCHESNEY: And there’s no technological justification for this. There’s no economic justification. It's pure corrupt crony capitalism. They're basically using their political leverage to change this so they get a huge new revenue stream, and it gives them an inordinate amount of power over the internet. I mean, I think what people have to remember is that I think what’s excited us all about the internet was the idea that anyone could start a website at a fairly nominal fee and be competing equally then with General Motors, with General Electric, with Rupert Murdoch. We all had a shot at it. Democracy Now! had a shot right next to FOX News.
What this will do is change that, because that genius was built on policy, not technology. It was a common carrier requirement of the Telecom Act, which required the phone companies to give all websites equal access. They want to get rid of that, because they see enormous amounts of money if they can decide which website gets the inside lane and which website is on the dirt path
COPE Telecom Bill Affects Net Neutrality, Local Cable Franchises and Funding for Public Access
The House is expected to vote this week on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006.
Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006
The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act is a major piece of telecommunications reform legislation currently being considered in the House of Representatives. Common Cause opposes this bill
The COPE bill would:
Place control of the Internet in the hands of few powerful corporations;
Vastly increase special interest monopoly power;
End consumer protections against abuses by cable companies;
Allow cable and phone companies to raise the prices in poor neighborhoods, while giving special deals to the affluent;
Expand the "digital divide" that puts the poor, racial and ethnic minorities and rural families at a disadvantage; and
Stifle innovation and economic growth, because it will be too costly for any new Googles or eBays to draw customers to their websites.
April 30, 2006
Local Governments Urge Congress to Vote 'No' on COPE Telecom Bill
(AXcess News) Washington - The telecom reform bill, as it now stands, will, in effect, silence the voices of consumers and local governments, says a group of local government organizations.
If enacted, consumers will be at the mercy of telecommunication giants and the federal government when faced with concerns about their television and advanced Internet services. This measure leaves the door wide open for service providers to pick and choose which neighborhoods get premium services and which get no service at all. Local governments continue to urge Congress to protect our taxpaying consumers and maintain local government oversight of service providers. We urge them to vote 'no' on the COPE bill when it comes before the House. Specific concerns are:
-- The bill strips local governments of their authority to franchise the use of public rights-of-way for video/cable services and gives that authority to the federal government. The FCC has never had the authority to regulate local public rights- of-way and has no expertise concerning local streets, sidewalks, public safety or traffic patterns.
-- The bill gives the federal government the authority to oversee and second-guess all local rights-of-way management practices and all customer service issues.
-- The bill allows broadband-video service providers to pick and choose which neighborhoods they want to serve while bypassing all others completely. The bill would even allow broadband/video providers to avoid maintaining or upgrading facilities in poorer neighborhoods while affluent neighborhoods receive cutting-edge services and lower prices.
Local governments want their consumers to have meaningful competitive services -- not higher rates and no consumer recourse.
The statement was released jointly Friday by the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, Government Finance Officers Association, the Intermunicipal Lawyers Association, TeleCommUnity, and the National Conference of Black Mayors.
Dear (Name removed),
Thank you for contacting me to urge my support for network neurality, which will allow customers full access to Internet services. It is good to hear from you.
As you know, the telecommunications world has changed dramatically since Congress last visited the issue through the Telecommunications Act of 1996. At that time, the Internet was still in its infancy, and new technologies have since revolutionized the communications industry - creating choices, competition, and capabilities undreamed of in 1996. Congress has the opportunity to build on the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality poilicy through the current process of revisiting the Telecommunications Act.
I share your belief in the importance of network neutraility, which prevents Internet providers from blocking access to their competitors services. Consumers should have a choice over the Internet services they utilize. The less involvement government bureaucrats and corporate bigwigs have over issues of consumer choice, the better. I believe the updates to the Telecommunications Act should bring technology regulations up to date while ensuring that new services are not restricted by outdated regulaations. This will foster more advanced technology, improve Internet services, and offer more choices to all consumers. As Congress considers updating the Telecommunications Acts and other legislastion relating to the Internet, you can sure I will keep your thoughts in mind.
Again, thank you for contactin me to share your thoughts. Please continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you.